Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Lancers head to desert to gear up for playoffs

  • Print

The Dakota Collegiate boys’ hockey team is hoping a little fun in the sun will lead to something nice on the ice.

The Lancers, who at 10-4-1 are in a tight race with three other teams for second place in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League’s A Division, are heading to Phoenix this week to play in the Cactus Cup tournament.

Head coach Ray Agostino is hoping the trip will be equal parts fun and productive for the team.

"It’s a good team-building thing," he said. "Going there before the playoffs is a good time of year. We find playing the same top-10 teams in the province here every day gets old."

The Lancers, who won the Cactus Cup in 2011, will be the only Canadian entry this year. They’ll face teams from Arizona, Texas, Wyoming and elsewhere in the U.S.

"The strength of the teams down there is getting good," said Agostino, who’s taken past teams to tournaments in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. "It’s a good break for the players. It’s a break for them to go to a warmer place. They’re excited about it."

Agostino added that the prospect of playing in a warm-weather tournament never hurts when recruiting students who are undecided between high school and other levels of hockey.

After a down year in 2011-12, the Lancers trail only St. Paul’s and Oak Park in the standings. They returned 12 players this year, including Winnipeg Blues prospects Scott Rowswell and Nolan Parrington, who Agostino calls the top forward and defenceman in the league, respectively.

"We’re probably the most consistent team I’ve played on," said Rowswell, a St. Vital right winger who’s in his third season with the Lancers. "I think we have a pretty good chance, if we all come together, of winning."

Rowswell said the team’s greatest strength is the familiarity the players have with one another. Most of the roster has played hockey together for a long time.

"The team is a bunch of people who’ve been playing together their whole lives," said Rowswell, who leads the league with 22 goals. "All the Grade 12s on the team, and even some Grade 11s have played Warriors and Vics together, and grown up together."

Along with his elite players, Agostino says the Lancers are winning with depth at forward, a strong defensive corps and two Grade 11 goalies, Johnny Hawash and Carson McFeetors.

"There’s a lot of parity in the league this year," said the coach. "The last-place team can beat the first-place team."

In order for the Lancers to make a deep playoff run, Rowswell pointed to reducing the number of defensive-zone turnovers they commit, taking fewer penalties and improving on both the power play and the penalty kill.

The upcoming trip and tournament could set the stage for a strong finish, he added.

"I can tell you, if we win the tournament it will be a huge confidence booster for the playoffs. You come closer together going on a trip like this. It can only be a positive."

avi.saper@canstarnews.com

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Fall Arts Guide

We preview what’s new and what’s coming up in Winnipeg’s new arts season

View our Fall Arts Guide

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Do you intend to visit the CMHR once it’s fully operational?

View Results